Although getting return customers isn’t rocket science, there is definitely more to it than hanging a sign on the door that says, “Please Come Again!”. Here are 11 effective ways to win over your customers and keep them coming back.
1. Create a habit-forming product.
Having an “addictive” product doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be something that people physically crave, or something upon which they are emotionally dependent, like Instagram or Twitter.
It may just be something that is so much fun, that they can’t go a day without it. Maybe you are an online service provider with a user interface that is really simple and fun to use, or maybe your packaging is the fun part…
The key is to inspire joy in the customer, to such an extent that they have to keep coming back for it—because they just can’t help it.
2. Target your business’ ideal customers.
It’s easy to market your product to everyone within reach, but equally ineffective. The far better way is to determine who your ideal customer is, and then focus your marketing and advertising towards those customers.
You will be better able serve them, and the new customers you do bring in will be more likely to stick with you because your business is just what they were looking for.
3. The DIY factor: They actually want to work for it.
A study conducted by Harvard Business School revealed something interesting about the connection between products that require some labor on the customer’s part, and the amount of value they place on those products.
Dubbed “the IKEA Effect” by the researchers, the study results showed that people actually tend to place more value on a product that requires some work to complete.
Isn’t there just something enticing about a salad bar, a Lego set, or the Build-a-Bear Workshop? In fact there is research to back this up. (See a link to the full study following this article.)
One thing that they definitively proved through the study was that this doesn’t work unless your customer’s labor leads to successful completion, so that’s a key thing to remember if you attempt to use this strategy.
4. Don’t assume that they are stupid.
One mistake made by many of those in customer service is insulting the customer’s intelligence by assuming that they won’t be able to understand the product or the explanations thereof.
This is generally not a good idea because while everything should be clear and easy to understand, it is easy to upset a customer by talking down to them, whether through a direct conversation, or in any other correspondence.
5. Give them a reason to come back.
An easy way to give customers an incentive to buy from you again is to offer a discount on their next purchase, but the incentive doesn’t have to be monetary.
For example, if your staff goes the extra mile to treat each customer with consideration, as a friend, this can make a powerful impact. A human touch might be what they’re coming back for.
Train your customer support team to connect with customers, while still providing expert service—this is one of the things that really stands out to people.
6. Prove to your customers that they matter, by sending a note.
Speaking of a human touch, it helps to show that you remember your customers by sending out a quick, informal note, following their first purchase. One type of letter that is great for this is a Thank You note, which can be very effective for impressing your customers.
Here are some examples of Thank You notes that you can use:
7. Put together a great team.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it, anyway: If you want a first-rate business, then you need a first-rate team.
Even if you run a 100-percent online business, you need people who are knowledgeable, hard-working, and effective (among other things) because the work they do is directly connected to the experience your customers will have.
8. Give them a chance to be part of a community.
We all want to belong. Whether you have a healthy following on social media where customers have the opportunity to comment on your products, or a loyalty program that they can sign up for or subscribe to—the sense of belonging to a community is a great way to keep customers.
9. Offer an easy way for customers to contact you, and respond promptly.
Establishing clear channels through which your customers can reach you is necessary to give them a way to tell you all their gripes and questions, and sometimes they might even send you a compliment!
If your customers can’t get through to you, then they may decide that they’re dissatisfied with your service. It doesn’t take much, for some customers, to be dissatisfied or agitated.
10. Utilize the attraction of youthfulness.
To create a customer experience that makes them want to come back, it helps to take the drives that are in all of us, and incorporate that into your product—or at least into the way it’s presented.
The universal desire to feel young and vibrant may be one of the most compelling motivators to attract your customers. This might take the form of marketing your product as something that is on the cutting edge, or you can simply showcase younger customers who use your product.
11. Provide the best customer experience possible.
Make sure that your customers’ overall experience, from the time they find your business to the point of sale, is as good as it possibly can be. This involves a variety of elements, but among the most important ones are: Great service, great website or store design, quick and clear purchasing, and follow-up support.
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1. Michael I. Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely, The “IKEA Effect”: When Labor Leads to Love, Harvard Business School, 2011, http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/11-091.pdf